Petition to Ban TikTok in Kenya Presented to ParliamentAugust 15, 2023
A petition has been presented to National Assembly Speaker Moses Wetang’ula, urging for the ban of TikTok in Kenya.
During a parliamentary session, Wetang’ula confirmed that his office had received a petition from Bob Ndolo, an executive officer at Briget Connect Consultancy.
“The petitioner has decried that the content that is being shared on the social media platform is inappropriate and is promoting violence, vulgar language, explicit sexual content, hate speech which is a serious threat to the cultural and religious values in Kenya,” read the petition.
The petitioner also alleged that TikTok has been collecting user data, including device information, user location, and browsing history, without obtaining proper consent.
According to the petitioner, TikTok has shared users’ information with third-party companies without their consent.
Ndolo emphasized the addictive nature of TikTok and its potential negative impact on academic performance as well as mental health issues like depression, anxiety, and sleep deprivation among young people.
The petitioner called upon the National Assembly to intervene promptly and safeguard Kenyans from the adverse effects of TikTok.
However, Majority Leader Kimani Ichung’wah countered by stating that many parliamentary members themselves use TikTok and see no inherent problem with the platform. He suggested that instead of imposing a complete ban, the House should focus on regulating the use of such apps, with the involvement of the ICT department to oversee content moderation.
Ichung’wah further argued against outright banning, as it could hinder career opportunities. He noted that the government now recognizes the potential revenue generation within the industry, emphasizing the need for effective regulation.
Minority Leader Opiyo Wandayi expressed the opinion that in this digital age, Kenya cannot isolate itself. He acknowledged the high levels of unemployment and stressed the importance of exploring alternative apps that can help Kenya’s youth create content and find employment opportunities.
Concerns had been raised by Kenyans prior to the petition regarding the content shared by young users on TikTok. Many users took advantage of the live section to share adult content, inappropriate messages, and engage in bullying behaviors.